BEIJING, Aug. 7 // PRNewswire // -- The Official Restaurant of the Olympic Games honored its best of the best restaurant employees - McDonald's Olympic Champion Crew - who embody the Olympic ideals of excellence and teamwork in Beijing today at a Big Mac Building competition. Olympic officials and McDonald's executives joined world-renowned athletes, including nine-time U.S. Olympic Track & Field gold medalist Carl Lewis and Chinese Olympians Gao Min, two-time Diving gold medalist, and Track & Field gold medalist Wang Junxia, to cheer on the company's all-star crew teams as they demonstrated what they do best in McDonald's restaurants around the world.
In this McDonald's Olympic event, crew competed for honors in four categories: quality of food, teamwork and collaboration, celebration of the Olympic Spirit and speed of service. The exhibition was held at the world's largest free-standing McDonald's restaurant, located at the north end of the Olympic Green, built to seat more than 1,000 customers.
"These crew members exemplify the same spirit as the Olympic athletes themselves and it showed during today's competition," said Jim Skinner, McDonald's Chief Executive Officer. "Our outstanding restaurant employees are the heart and soul of the company. They are being recognized for providing the same efficient and friendly service to the international crowds in Beijing as they do for customers every day in their hometowns, all at the speed of service McDonald's offers worldwide."
World-class Olympians Lewis, Min and Junxia coached McDonald's Olympic Champion Crew as they showed off their skills in front of a crowd of hundreds, including United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Chairman Peter Ueberroth, International Olympic Committee (IOC) Managing Director Timo Lumme, Assistant to the President of the Beijing Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (BOCOG) Tu Mingde and Chinese Olympic Committee (COC) Deputy Director of Marketing Peng Xiao.
"As a former McDonald's restaurant employee, I was proud to share in this moment today with the McDonald's Olympic Champion Crew," said Olympian Carl Lewis. "I needed dedication, energy and drive to compete as an athlete and the same holds true for these outstanding crew teams."
McDonald's has brought an unprecedented 1,400 McDonald's Olympic Champion Crew representing 36 countries to the 2008 Games. They are serving the world's best athletes, coaches, officials, media and spectators at four new McDonald's Olympic venue restaurants. There is one in the Olympic Village and one in the Main Press Center for the more than 30,000 media expected, and two restaurants for spectators on the Olympic Green.
"The McDonald's Olympic Champion Crew program demonstrates the very ideals of the Olympic Movement - connecting cultures and communities while celebrating excellence and achievement," said International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge.
USOC Chairman Peter Ueberroth added, "Athletes and Olympic Committees from every participating nation are positively impacted by the support sponsors like McDonald's provide so that people everywhere can experience the Games' core values of excellence, friendship and respect."
While in Beijing, McDonald's Olympic Champion Crew will also experience the fun and excitement of the Games and meet peers from around the world as they attend Olympic events and visit China's cultural sites. Additionally, they were invited to create short videos that express their Olympic spirit. The top 22 "Olympic Spirit of McDonald's" (OSOM) videos are displayed on http://www.mcdonalds.com, with the public voting for their favorite videos through today, August 7. Winners will be announced on August 14 at an event in Beijing.
"It is a proud moment for China to host the 2008 Games, and I am honored to welcome international guests at the McDonald's Olympic restaurants," said Jiang Chuan, Olympic Champion Crew member and OSOM finalist. Shan Libo, Olympic Champion Crew member from China, agrees. "Thanks to this once-in-a- lifetime opportunity, I will create lifelong memories and help my career development at McDonald's."
McDonald's became an Official Sponsor of the Olympic Games in 1976 and has a long-standing commitment to the Olympic Movement. At the 1968 Olympic Winter Games, McDonald's airlifted hamburgers to U.S. athletes competing in Grenoble, France, after they reported being homesick for McDonald's food. Since then, the company has served its menu of choice and variety to millions of athletes, coaches, their families and fans. The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games mark McDonald's sixth Olympic Games as a Worldwide Partner and seventh as the Official Restaurant of the Olympic Games. McDonald's current sponsorship will continue through the 2012 Games in London.
McDonald's is the leading global foodservice retailer with more than 31,000 local restaurants in 118 countries. More than 75 percent of McDonald's restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by franchisees and affiliates. Please visit http://www.mcdonalds.com to learn more about the company.